It’s that time of year again, when our family room is full of boxes and the game table is covered with books.
The signing is complete, but I still need to sketch in around 1500 books. The sketching is complicated by the fact that we want to ship packages as soon as they come ready, and almost all of the sketched-book orders contain two books. Oh, and people get to choose which sketch they want, from a list of about a dozen for each book.
I began with “Schlock in Bubble Armor” for book 14. There were 104 of those. When I finished them we could ship zero packages. I then sketched all 100 “Captain Landon” for Book 15, and at that point we could ship all of the packages which contained those two sketch editions.
There were forty-three of them. Not bad!
I moved on to the first batch of “Artist’s Choice” for Book 15. The overlap between that and bubble-armor Schlock was only 17. The overlap between that and Captain Landon was zero (because nobody ordered two copies of the same book) but now I have a table full of “Artist’s Choice” for Book 14, and the overlap is going to be around 80%. Which is to say, we would have shipped a lot more books sooner if I’d begun with Artist’s Choice for both Book 14 and Book 15. Sadly, neither Sandra nor I stopped to considered the Venn Diagram implications until after I was 100 books in.
Stay in school, kids. STAY IN SCHOOL.
The Schlock Mercenary store¹has sections for sale-priced merchandise, and clearance items. Either category (or perhaps both!) may help you meet your holiday shopping needs. Of note, the Planet Mercenary RPG is currently discounted to just $40. It includes over 200,000 words of encyclopedic in-universe information that you can enjoy without doing any role-play at all.
We also have Mystery Boxes for just $25, each of which is guaranteed to have $70 worth of merchandise contained within.
Place your orders by December 18th in order to ensure delivery in time for an under-the-tree presentation² here in the United States. International orders should be placed sooner, and the deadline is more difficult to pin down.
¹ If you’ve shopped with us in the past you may notice that the new storefront³ lacks Schlock Mercenary branding. We’ve changed storefront providers, and haven’t yet applied any window-dressing. Rest assured that this is our store, though.
² We’re talking about a Christmas tree, but other trees will work. Or no trees. Delivery will be in time for you to place your gift wherever you’d like its recipient to find it on Christmas Day.
³ Changing technology (and delays in its implementation) necessitated a move from Volusion, our host for over a decade, to Shopify. We’re quite happy with our new home at Shopify, and plan to decorate it soon⁴.
⁴ Soon (adverb): “eventually”
The Schlock Mercenary Kickstarter for books 14 and 15 has cleared another stretch goal, and backers who get those two books now get electronic versions of The Howard Tayler Retrospective Sketchbook and An Honest Death And Other Stories at no additional charge.
We only have three covers pictured because we’re a little surprised to have gotten this far.
The project also unlocked add-ons for five new Schlock Mercenary universe challenge coins, and a sixth coin which is a key fob version of the Maxim 70 coin.
The final stretch goal is out there a bit. It’s an R&D goal, and it’s about $13,000 away. If we reach it, I’ll write a novel in the Schlock Mercenary universe.
I’m probably going to write it anyway, but with a proper budget I’ll also edit it, polish it up, and Sandra and I will explore ways to publish it. Perhaps it will get its own Kickstarter. Maybe we’ll shop it around with editors (or get an agent and have them do that) so that people with an existing infrastructure for prose can handle the heavy lifting.
The novel will definitely happen if we reach $125k. But if, between now and 6pm Eastern Time on Friday we reach $115k, I’ll make the first chapter available to backers at no charge.
And because were within just $3,000 of that goal already, I’m making the prologue available to everybody right now.
The Schlock Mercenary Kickstarter for volumes 14 and 15 of the long-running comic space opera has funded to a level where it will include a short fiction collection of non-Schlock Mercenary stuff.
I said that last week.
Last night it funded to the point that we can design and print some new challenge coins, and that particular stretch goal is just $5k short of the one which follows, the Howard Tayler Retrospective Sketchbook. We’ll put that together (PDF only, at least for now) if we hit the $110k mark, but we need to reach that goal by 6pm Eastern Time on Friday.
As of this writing we’re less than $4k away.
The book would include some of the art of which Howard is proudest, the work where he feels he really leveled up, and was on his game. It will also include some of his very worst work, because the point of the book is to show eighteen years of progress¹. And obviously we’ll be including lots of insightful, amusing, and self-deprecatory commentary².
You have two days to get in on this project, and it won’t take very many of you getting in on it to ensure that you’re all getting four books instead of just the original two.
¹ As I’ve said before, my progress over eighteen years isn’t that amazing. In eighteen years you could make a new human from scratch and then teach them to draw better than me.
² You want self-deprecatory? Here goes: The best reason to NOT back the project right now is to ensure that a generation of artists doesn’t get this PDF and learn to draw like Howard does, a catastrophe which would set the entire art form back about two hundred years.